Grieving the loss of a loved one looks different for everyone. Some may become quiet and withdrawn so that they can focus on taking care of themselves. Others take refuge in the romance of art or the written word.
Today we’re going to discuss using poetry to express grief and commemorate our loved ones. If you’re struggling to get started on your unique piece, that’s OK! We’re here to help with a few tips for drafting the perfect poem for your dearly departed.
This poem should be about honoring your loved one. But this piece is also about you. For this reason, you shouldn’t hesitate to write from the heart. Emotions like confusion, anger, and sadness can feel enormous—especially when we’re grieving.
So we’re often afraid to confront those big feelings honestly. It’s understandable to feel this way. But the point of writing a poem to commemorate your loved one isn’t to say something nice about them in an artsy way. It’s also to give yourself a safe space to feel your grief fully.
Maybe you feel confused by their passing. If so, don’t be afraid to express that. Maybe you’re overwhelmed with the thought of life without them, but you’re happy they’re no longer in pain. If that’s the case, you should convey that in your poem. Doing so allows you to explore the full spectrum of your emotions. Plus, it ensures that the piece is heartfelt.
In a similar vein, don’t worry too much about making your poem perfect. It doesn’t need to be perfect for it to be meaningful. Suppose you sit down to write a traditional, rhyme-scheme poem about your late grandmother’s vibrant spirit. But what comes out instead is a sort of free verse poem.
If that’s the case, so be it. Let your ideas flow, and don’t worry too much about the result. With that said, if you know your poem will appear in memorial service pamphlets, you may want to do some light editing.
The point is to focus on writing something authentic that honors the spirit of your loved one. Worry less about things like proper punctuation and perfect rhyme schemes as you write it.
Lastly, when you sit down to write your poem, take a moment to contemplate why you’re doing it. It could be for many reasons, including:
It could also be a combination of all of the above. In any case, understanding your motivation for writing this particular poem will help you create something authentic, intentional, and beautiful.
Remember to confront your emotions honestly through your poetry. Don’t worry too much about getting everything neat and perfect. Most of all, make sure you’re confident that the piece you’re writing celebrates the wonderful person your loved one was in life.